I generally get most of my reading material from our county library — or, actually, the eLibrary, where books are shared between several small counties. This means that the waiting list for a book can be six months or more (hello, Becoming by Michelle Obama). I’ve learned that, as soon as a book becomes available, to go into my browser and immediately place another book on hold. And also that purchasing books this year is going to be necessary if I ever want to actually read anything.
Saturday morning, I received an email I’d been waiting for: That The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing by Merve Emre was ready for checkout. I went to the library website, got the book loaded on my Kindle, and began perusing the ongoing list of books I keep in my planner so I could add another to my holds list (I can reserve up to six. Boring).
I typed in About a Boy by Nick Hornby (been meaning to read that one for a while) and was shocked that it was immediately available. I’ve never had that happen before. Downloading that one, I decided to try Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling. ALSO AVAILABLE, WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!
Okay, fine, how about The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King? Well, another six month waiting list there, but I was really feeling almost … it was an abundance of riches, really, to be able to check out three books at once. I guess I should browse more often.
(I’m only part of the way through Myers Briggs, and it’s fascinating. That’s another post for another time, though. I need to actually read it first before I start spouting off.)
My reading this year has been sparser than I’d like it to be. I spent most of January waiting for books to become available before deciding to just purchase a few (you’d think that, as someone whose livelihood depends on people purchasing a newspaper that I’d be more generous with my book dollars. Well, this could be the year for that, the way it’s all going with long library waits).
But here’s what I have managed to read so far:
Mirage by Somaiya Daud. I purchased this one after hearing Daud speak on public radio. She seemed like someone I’d like to have coffee with. And I really enjoyed it. It’s sci-fi and romance and, ultimately, a book about oppression. First in a series, apparently (which came as a shock when I read the last page and was like OH HELL NO THIS CANNOT BE THE END. It’s not. But now I have to wait a long time to find out what happens, boo). Recommend!
The Gospel of Trees: A Memoire by Apricot Irving. I also purchased this one after it was recommended to me by a friend. This is a memoire and, as such, it’s sometimes difficult to read because Irving is so open and honest. She’s the daughter of missionary parents and spent the bulk of her childhood in Haiti. It’s fascinating and difficult all at once. Plus she’s now an Oregonian. Also recommend.
Trainspotting by Irving West. I’m sad that I purchased this one. I just had a hard time with it for a variety of reasons: It’s mostly written in Scottish dialect, which was difficult for my brain to get used to (I kept trying to translate it into American English at first; eventually I got the hang of it and just read as best I could as written); these guys are junkies and make really terrible decisions, and I have limited patience for that; and it’s pretty graphic / there’s a lot of swearing (which I actually don’t care about, to be honest — words are just words — but it started to wear me down after reading the C word for the 8,000 time in 20 pages). I came away from this just really glad to have made the life decisions I’ve made. I can’t necessarily recommend this one. I’m okay with having read it but wow, that was hard.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I checked this one out from the eLibrary. This is a book set in the 1970s and 1980s, about a family who moves to Alaska from Washington. I really enjoyed it — great storyline, great writing — but I had to put it down periodically because the father is so abusive and crazy and that was difficult to digest sometimes. I wish I’d have purchased this one instead of “Trainspotting,” though, because this is one I’d like to read again … later. Recommend.
And a book I didn’t finish:
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfeg. I’m grateful that I checked this one out from the eLibrary because it made it easier for me to decide to peace out after 85 pages. I finish everything, but I could not finish this one: There are no redeeming characters and the plot is basically this narcissist who drugs herself into oblivion. But even BEFORE she started her year of sleep, she was not someone I wanted to spend any time with. There are no words to describe how much I hated this book … and how pissed I am that I wasted my life on those 85 pages. I picked it up, incidentally, because it was in the top 10 of multiple “must reads of 2018” lists. If there’s anyone out there who has read it and actually liked it, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Why is this book so highly recommended? I honestly have no idea.